Graduation year: 2018
Majors: Creative writing, Scandinavian studies
Activities: Augustana Symphonic Band, Augustana Symphony Orchestra, Horn Choir, Fencing Club, SAGA Art & Literary Magazine, Sigma Alpha Iota (music service), Zeta Phi Kappa sorority (honorary)
Internship: Editor-in-chief for SAGA Art & Literary Magazine
Post-grad plans: Attend the Denver Publishing Institute to earn a publishing certification through the University of Denver graduate program
Honestly, I didn't decide until the June after my senior year of high school. The music and creative writing departments were what made my decision final. And those expectations four years ago have stayed consistent and exceeded everything I could have hoped for. It also didn't hurt that Augustana had a fencing club.
Are you where you thought you’d be when you first came to campus?
Not at all! The Alina at the beginning of her freshman year was happy that she was even able to go to college and attend classes. I had a few medical issues the summer before I started college, which were thankfully resolved for the most part by the end of fall. So the fact that I will be graduating with two majors and a minor and have played a major role in various ensembles and organizations across campus is a fact that I’m eternally grateful for.
Who helped you get to where you are now?
There are so many mentors I could name, and that process would likely take up 50 pages, so I'll have to condense this.
Dr. James Lambrecht, my band director and one of my first mentors at Augie, was instrumental in my growth as a musician as well as a person. Rebecca Wee, my advisor and poetry professor, took away my reservations about my own poetry-writing capabilities and now I write at least one poem a day! Thank you to Kelly Daniels for getting me to write outside of my little fantasy box and experiment with different genres and styles.
Thank you to Anne Earel, my mentor at the library; she encouraged me to apply for the Denver Publishing Institute, which I will be attending this summer. Thank you to my Scandinavian professors, Mark Safstrom and Kimberly La Palm; they restored my enthusiasm for my second, unplanned major.
And to Marc Zyla, my horn professor: thank you for exceeding all expectations and teaching a tired senior new ways to approach music-making.
I am again at a loss at how I can condense my many wonderful experiences down to just one, but I will choose my time spent in Holden Village as a peak experience just because I haven't mentioned it in any of the previous questions.
Living in the cold, snowy mountains of the Northern Cascades was an experience not many people will be able to relate to, but that was what made it special. I learned as much about people as I did about myself beneath those gorgeous peaks. Living without connectivity and internet was, without a doubt, one of the most rewarding times in my life.
What surprised you?
That being an overall oddball is an acceptable thing if you can find the right people.
How did you use Augie Choice?
The Augustana Symphonic Band's tour of Spain.
What will you miss the most?
Inhabiting a space and time where all my friends lived within walking distance of me, my mentors were a door-knock away, the hills were eternally unforgiving, and the music lovely and somewhat more forgiving.
Advice for the Class of 2022?
Engage. Pick up a book, watch a TED talk, try going to a fencing club practice, turn off your phone, ANYTHING that discourages passivity. There is such a thing as being over-involved, but I'll eat my hat if I hear one more person say they're bored with life. Engage with the world around you, and it will open up to you in ways you never thought possible.
“Alina is such a positive spirit, and genuinely loves to learn. It's been amazing to watch as she turns her ideas into realities! I'm thrilled that my ‘past life’ as an editor has helped her start exploring a possible career in publishing. Grab a copy of the SAGA literary magazine or check out a Symphonic Band performance to see two of Alina’s many contributions to Augustana before she heads to the Denver Publishing Institute this summer!”